Originality at its worst

Current Hollywood cinema screenplays are severely flawed

By Chris Skarnulis, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Throughout the twentieth century, a wide range of directors had blessed audiences with a variety of movies based on several different genres that complimented original plotlines. However, it is a sad reality but, the movie industry has severely declined in quality.
It is shameful to observe the evolution of directors; that is, transitioning from an era where Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Wes Craven’s blockbusters tantalized audiences, to the likes of the “superhero” era of Michael Bay, Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan.
It is a sad state of affairs, because at this point, the movie industry appears to have given up. It is fueled solely on profitability as opposed to releasing real, honest projects. Current projects lack creative direction; the screenplays have become repetitive, with no added flair to make them stand out. The content of these screenplays revolve around poorly made sequels, remakes and the incredibly trendy superhero genre. The questions remains, who is to blame? Has the creative design and innovation in Hollywood faded to nothing? Have renowned film directors and staff simply given up?
Unfortunately, the roots of this dilemma date back to the early days when cinema was slowly growing in popularity. The “Golden Era” of cinema began in the early twentieth century with the founding of the production company MGM by founders Irving G. Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer. Though MGM is credited with producing several successful films that proved to be instrumental in the continuing evolution of cinema, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” the direction and aim of the company was problematic when it came to the mindsets of its founders.
Reportedly, Thalberg was a “movie buff,” and wanted to make honest, original films, whereas Mayer was solely concerned about profits. It goes without saying that complications on the originality of screenplays in cinema date back to its origins, and continue to this day.
The rise of the superhero movie franchise dates back to 2005, with the release of “Batman Begins,” the first installment in the Christopher Nolan Batman film trilogy. Following the conclusion of that trilogy with the release of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012, the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise took off, with the release of “The Avengers,” a collaboration of several Marvel superheroes on the big screen. Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Animated Universe franchise have been competing with each other, releasing installment after installment to determine which is the more successful franchise. These companies effortlessly dominate the current industry, with recent releases such as “Deadpool,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Suicide Squad.” The releases of films will continue for years to come, with no end in sight.
Another category of cinema that needs rash improvement is the “sequels and remakes.” Over the summer, moviegoers slammed the release of “Ghostbusters (2016),” an all-female cast remake of the classic 1980s film of the same name. The film was both a financial and critical failure, with much blame put on the lack of comedy, crooked plotline and the decision to include an all-female cast. The release of “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the sequel to Will Smith’s “Independence Day,” lacked narrative and an overall direction. The original film had a grasp on both concepts, but it is just another example of easy profits to be made by Hollywood.
Individuals should be asking themselves “Who will step forward and make the next Taxi Driver or Pulp Fiction?” Sadly, that question remains without an answer. The term “originality” has declining meaning in the world of cinema. It appears that profitability now defines Hollywood, and it is an unfortunate turn of events.